A Denver family grieves the loss of a 16-year-old girl, after a car packed with teens rolled over on eastbound I-70 near I-76, just after midnight Saturday. Six people were in that car, five teenagers and one adult.
Arvada police said the driver was a teenager and they believe intoxication was a factor in the crash. The teen who died was North High School student Mariah Trujillo.
"This one's down in Pueblo. She's swinging on the swings, I wish I had more recent pictures of her," Trujillo's grandfather, Ron Garcia, flips through old photos of the teen.
Memories are all Garcia has left of a granddaughter taken too soon.
"That's the kind of girl she was, everyone loved her," Garcia said.
Sunday morning, he got an emotional call from his daughter
"What's the matter?" Garcia recalled asking over the phone. He began to break down crying, "I'm sorry, just to think of it hurts."
She passed the phone to the police, who broke the devastating news.
"He said 'Well, I'm sorry to inform you that she's deceased.' And I go 'What? When did that happen?' And he said that she was in a rollover accident that night," Garcia said.
Arvada police say Mariah Trujillo was the only teen who died after a car carrying five teens and one adult crashed on I-70.
"Just shock. I... I couldn't understand the purpose of all this that happened," Garcia said.
Police believe alcohol was a factor in the crash. It's not clear if anyone in the car was wearing a seatbelt.
"I'm gonna miss Mariah terribly," Garcia said as he started to cry, "I'm gonna miss her."
Her family says Mariah didn't know the teen who was driving.
"We've always talked to her, 'Be careful who's car you get into.' You know and I guess you know how teenagers are, she wasn't thinking things through," Garcia said.
Garcia has no anger towards the driver, just a plea to other teenagers: think twice about who you get in the car with, and if they may be impaired. And buckle up.
"At that age, they feel that you know, they've got forever to live. They don't realize the danger in this world," Garcia said.
Because one moment can change everything.
"You can't replace someone so precious in your life. There's no replacing her," Garcia said.
Police say at least three of the people in the car were ejected when it rolled over. Trujillo is the only one who died in the crash, and four others are seriously injured.
Arvada police said charges against the driver are still being determined. Whether the driver had a license or just a learner's permit, and whether those inside the car were wearing seatbelts, those factors are also still being investigated.
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